John finds himself in the throne room of heaven, surrounded by twelve elders and four winged beasts, representing the totality of all kingdoms both of animal and of man. An angel appears with a scroll with seven seals, asking a simple question, “who is worthy to bust this thing wide open?” (Revelation 5:2)
Despite their lofty status, none of those present in the room can open the seals. It’s like the sword in the stone, yet none are able to pull out Excalibur.
Then the Lamb arrives, bloody as if sacrificed. It walks right up, takes the scroll, and breaks the seals.
This is Jesus. Jesus alone is worthy.
Everyone in the room flips out and begins to worship Jesus, the once and future king.
Paul tells us that all creation waits and groans for a redeemer (Romans 8:18-25). Look at us. We age, we grow weary, we grow sick, we die. We are burdened by anxiety and regret. Then along comes Jesus. We find life and strength, healing and the promise of eternity in Him. He holds record of our sufferings (Psalm 56:8). We leave our past at His feet (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This Jesus, this resurrected King, gave His life so we could have all these things.
How could we not worship Him, who breaks our many seals, who reads our names loud and proud out from the Book of Life (Revelation 20:12)?
In 2 Chronicles 6, Solomon christens the temple. After all the hard work, the generations that have passed, finally the temple is built. Solomon takes the moment to pray, and what a prayer at that!
When we are strangers in a strange land, when we are defeated, when we are sick or starving, when we are riddled with guilt and shame Solomon asks God that we might be able to turn to the temple and be healed. When we lay ourselves at His feet, Solomon asks that mercy and grace be poured down upon us. No matter who we are. No matter where we are. Look to the throne room of God and be healed.
Like Moses and the snake (Numbers 21:8). Like Christ on the cross. We look to God, recognize what He has done for us, and God meets us in that place. What a blessing to receive!
God, hear us now, this silly and wandering bunch. Receive us into Your open arms. We are ever loved and ever cherished by You. We’re coming home. Get the welcome mat ready!
So the disciples are in a boat (Mark 4:35-41). They’re professionals. The sea is near and dear to their hearts. So, Jesus decides to take a little nap while they’re on their way.
The problem is things start to get a little rough. Real rough, actually. So rough that the disciples fear for their lives.
But Jesus is still asleep.
They shake him awake. Though their world is falling apart, Jesus remains calm. He stands up and tells the waves to be quiet. He tells the disciples not to be afraid, and they become even more afraid than before. After all, fear is one of the most powerful motivators in our lives. Who is this person that is even more powerful than that?
Yet, even with all that power, He does not let it go to His head. He does not berate His disciples for their lack of faith. They just do not understand. He guides them into the understanding of a greater reality at play. It completely blows their minds.
There are plenty of times when we believe that Jesus is asleep, especially when our boat is not only rocking but underwater. Still, Jesus cares. He is with us in the boat, no matter what happens. That’s perhaps the craziest thing about the Gospel. Jesus came down from heaven, the perfect place, to be here in the insanity with us.
He knows the boat is rocking. He feels the waves. He senses our fear. And he stands up and says, “calm.”
This line comes from Peter. (Full story in Acts 10-11)
He has just come off of Pentecost. Holy Spirit came down, people started speaking in tongues, thousands of people gave their lives to God.
Off this high, God comes to Peter in a vision. He tells Peter to eat foods he thought he was forbidden to eat. God’s like, it’s cool. And Peter goes back and forth on this for a while but eventually digs in.
Then he gets a visit from the servant of Cornelius, an important Roman dude. The servant calls Peter to come and, though Jews did not usually hang with Gentiles, Peter goes.
Once he arrives, Cornelius tells Peter that he’s had a vision and Peter takes the opportunity to preach about it. Afterwards the Holy Spirit comes upon the whole house of Cornelius and Peter realizes that, like the food he thought was taboo, the Gentiles are now just as welcome at God’s table as the Jews.
But we know from later in Scriptures that Paul calls Peter out on withdrawing from this conviction, of just hanging out with the Jews even though God’s message is for all.
It just goes to show you, the greatest inhibitor of the Gospel is us. God is out there in the trenches, letting His presence be known. He just needs hands and feet and mouths and hearts to work through to give the whole message traction.
Will let His word work through us, even though it challenges everything we know or are comfortable/familiar with, or will we be another road block on other’s travels to the Divine?
Before Christ died, He bequeathed all power to His disciples, especially to Peter (though he had betrayed Him).
Before Peter died, He bequeathed all power to us, naming us a holy priesthood and heirs to the throne of God.
No matter your past or your present, you are offered the opportunity to live exalted in Him.
I invite you now to seize your inheritance and claim the glory set aside for you since the beginning of time so that you would live a life fully endowed with the full and undiluted strength of the Spirit, which Jesus purchased for us with His Holy Blood.
Remember Sméagol from The Lord of the Rings trilogy?
He had that special ring that gave him great power, but in return for that power he invited Gollum into his life, an evil presence reeking havoc upon Sméagol’s soul. *Spoiler alert* His addiction to the ring ended up destroying him.
It’s easy to look at this poor, sad creature and write him off a pure fantasy, but the truth of the matter is we all have our rings, things that made us feel empowered or important, helped us survive, but in the end will end up destroying us.
Be mindful of these things. Each person has a different one. Often you can find it when it is taken away, so be mindful and aware. We are called to live an abundant life in Christ. Beware the roadblocks and thrive!
Adam’s sin is Joseph’s sin is our sin
The Deceiver wasn’t lying when it said
the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
would make us like God.
We were created in Their Divine image, male and female alike
Thanks to nearby Tree of Life, we had eternity
to be transformed more and more into Their likeness
But we grew impatient
We knew our Divine calling, but we wanted it know
and so we took it before our Kairos time
and it destroyed us.
But God’s story is one of redemption:
sending Their Son,
then the Holy Spirit
to wipe the past clean
and start the journey anew
so that we could become more and more like Them.